Oak Forest Elementary physical education teacher Margy Locke has worked to engage her school community on ways it can have fun and get exercise in this time of social distancing.
“With schools closed, sports seasons canceled and playgrounds closed, we must get creative to find ways to keep active and stay connected,” Locke said. “Exercise is important not just for physical health, but mental health as well.”
Below is a list of activities she shared that will get you moving and promote positive interactions with the family.
Grab a deck of cards. Assign a different activity to each suit such as: hearts=jumping jacks; spades=sit-ups; diamonds=push-ups; and clubs=squats.
Shuffle the deck of cards and take turns with your child picking up the top card. The number on the card represents the number of times you need to complete an activity. Before starting, decide the value of Aces, Jacks, Queens and Kings.
Hit the bike trails
A family bike ride is a great way to stay active and connect with the family. Beginning riders may enjoy riding around the neighborhood, while older intermediate riders may like exploring the hike and bike trails.
“This is also a great opportunity to teach young people bike safety and etiquette such as signaling turns, riding on the right-hand side while passing on the left, watching for cars and always wearing a helmet,” Locke said. “Finally, young riders may need an extra reminder to be mindful of social distancing practices when approaching and passing other riders and pedestrians.”
Everyone loves a challenge. A one-minute challenge is a fast, simple way to get everyone moving.
Choose any exercise and see how many each person can do in one minute. Ideas for exercises include sit-ups, push-ups, squats, burpees and star jumps.
This same concept can be used for various sports skills as well. How many baskets can be made in a minute? How many times can a ball be caught without letting it hit the floor?
“The best part about a minute challenge is trying to improve your own score by doing a little better than you did the time before,” Locke said.
Dancing with your family is a great way to get your heart pumping and create feel-good memories. There are lots of dance options ranging from learning the latest TikTok dance to revisiting old classics like “The Cupid Shuffle” or “The Cotton Eyed Joe.”
“Thanks to the internet, any dance tutorial is just a YouTube search away,” Locke said. “If learning choreography is not your thing, no problem, just turn up your favorite song and free style.”
In-home fitness circuit
Circuit training is a style of workout where you cycle through several exercises – usually five to 10 – targeting different muscle groups with minimal rest in between. Each exercise is done for either a specific time or number of repetitions.
“The result is a workout that taxes your muscular strength, endurance and your cardio-respiratory systems,” Locke said.
A kid-friendly exercise circuit would look something like this: Jog in place for 30 seconds; 10 push-ups; 30 jumping jacks; 20 sit-ups; 10 star jumps; hold plank for 30 seconds; and 10 burpees.
Completion of all the exercises in the set represent one exercise “circuit.” Begin the next circuit after a short rest and repeat 2-4 times.
Classic games and activities
“Our time in quarantine has really allowed us to slow down and enjoy the simple things in life,” Locke said. “This is a great time to revisit the timeless games we grew up with as kids and enjoy them with our own children.”
Jump Rope, Hula Hoop, Hopscotch, Simon Says, Monkey in the Middle, Relay Races, Hide and Seek and Wall Ball are some examples.